I have full confidence in Sports Minister, says Nimal Lewke
I refer your attention to the article which appeared on your today’s
edition “President Rajapaksa’s intervention sought”. In this article you
have mentioned that I have said that we do not have faith in the Sports
Minister. It is incorrect. At no stage I made a comment like that, as I
have known the Minister for a very long time and even before he came
into politics, I have full confidence in him.
However, what I mentioned was the committee appointed by the Sports
Ministry comprising officials from the National Sports Council have
failed to report the correct facts to the Minister.
For example, the officials who inquired into this were unaware of
very important circulars issued by the Sports Ministry and I believe
when you hold any inquiry they should be aware of the present rules and
regulations that are governing Sports in Sri Lanka.
Regarding the appointment of a Captain, according to Ministry
Circular MPRS/4/1/17 clearly indicates that Captain has to be appointed
in advance and should obtain Minister’s approval which the Union did
But the officials who were not aware of this basic requirement and
they questioned the Union officials as to why they have appointed a
captain in advance. Not only the captain has to be appointed in advance
the circular says that captain should be consulted by the Selection
Committee prior to the selection of the final team.
The idea of Sports Ministry appointing a Three-man Committee purely
to get the correct picture to sort out this problem but what we have
observed in their advice to the Minister is completely misleading.
Example, one of the officials who was a leading member of this
committee former Sri Lanka CR & FC, Royal College player and former
President of the Union had this to say about the appointment of the
captain when interviewed by the Sunday Observer, 14th September 2008.
“Knowledgeable critics hail Dushanth Lewke’s appointment as Captain.”
I quote “it was an excellent choice by the selectors to have picked the
number eight for the job. He (Lewke) is an automatic choice for Sri
Lanka and obviously guarantees his place in the side.
His playing too has improved over the years and at this stage of his
career it will be a good challenge for him in Chinese Taipei leading our
challenge in what promised to be a very competitive tournament” this
official who has previously functioned in various capacities as Coach,
Manager and Physio of the National Team opined that he fully backs the
selectors’ decision to opt for Dushanth Lewke despite Lewke not having
led the domestic club in his career. This talk of not being a Captain of
a club to skipper the national team is not a big deal, as we can find
ample examples from bygone era.
Take the case of Dr. Indrajith Kumaraswamy, who led the Sri Lanka at
1974 Rugby Asiad and then there was Lanil Tennekoon who went on to lead
the National Team without even being Captain of a club team. So this is
nothing to be surprised about and we need to give this lad all the
courage and support for the team to succeed in Taipei.”
A person who made the above comments now gone back on his own
statement and advising the Minister on some other line. Why he is doing
this is a big question. Just one month ago he had the above to say as a
responsible, trusted official of the Minister should give the correct
picture as it is his prime responsibility to guide the Honourable
Minister who had kept faith on him.
Furthermore, this is the same official who has supposed to have
recommended the new Selection Committee to the Ministry and their names
where never referred to the Union for their observations. There again
Chairman of the new Selection Committee is directly working for business
tycoon the trustee of the Kandy Sports Club and it is common knowledge
that he is the Godfather of Kandy players.
This official was fully aware of these facts. There is another member
in the new Selection Committee who is a Vice President of a leading A
Division Club in Colombo and according to the sports law he cannot hold
two positions as we believe that selectors should be independent.
You don’t need anymore evidence to prove that Honourable Minister is
innocent and he has been completely misled by the officials of the
National Sports Council, I am making this observation purely to
enlighten the Minister, Ministry officials and Rugby fans the damage
they have done to a young potential ruggerite and rugby football in Sri